Carrier Data plans.... why is this so hard?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Boyd01, May 29, 2018.

  1. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #1
    Have been thinking of getting an iPad and adding it to my existing AT&T Mobileshare plan but couldn't figure out how to do that after on their website.

    Stopped by an Apple Store but they said they just sell iPads and you use an app to choose the data plan.

    Stopped by an AT&T store but left after I got tired of waiting.

    Went to Best Buy but the only phone person in the store knew nothing about data plans and was texting somebody for answers to my questions. She finally said it would cost $20/mo to add it to my AT&T plan. I have read that it should be $10/mo and she really didn't inspire confidence so I left.

    Finally went back to the AT&T website and did an online chat. They sent me a link to add the iPad to my MobileShare plan for $10/month so I thought I was all set. But when I clicked the button, I got an error that my data plan was no longer available and I could not proceed.

    The person on the chat said this was just an issue with their website and I should choose a new data plan, make the purchase and call them when it arrives before activating and they will fix it. I said that was ridiculous and asked for a supervisor, who basically said the same thing. At that point I just gave up.

    I will not use the iPad with cellular data very often and rarely go over 500MB on my 2gb AT&T Mobileshare plan. So I just want an inexpensive way to have the option to use cell data when needed. Is there another carrier or another way to do this? Am on the fence about buying an iPad in the first place (I have an iPhone, two Apple TVs and three Macs) and this seems much too difficult.
     
  2. tshort macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
  3. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #3
    LOL, that's what the person at Best Buy said. Yeah, I know I can do that, but I want an iPad with cellular connectivity and internal GPS chip that will work anywhere all by itself.

    Like I said.... why is this so hard?
     
  4. Clix Pix, May 29, 2018
    Last edited: May 29, 2018

    Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #4
    You can sign up for a limited-time data plan on the iPad itself...... Go to Settings > Cellular Data > Set Up Cellular Data and then activate a new standalone data plan or can add to your current postpaid data plan. The standalone plan is the Prepaid DataConnect Pass plan, which includes a specific amount of data for a specific period of time. It's been a while since I've done it but I think you can have a prepaid plan for just one month or for three months. I used to do this a few years ago on my iPad and then finally just went ahead and at the AT&T Corporate store the next time I purchased an iPad I set it up as part of my existing Mobileshare plan. The three month plan at that time was $25.00 and then at the end of the time period I was free to either start a new plan or to ignore it and not activate another plan.
     
  5. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #5
    Thanks - this article has the best summary of data options that I've seen: https://www.imore.com/which-ipad-carrier-and-plan-should-you-get

    The 24 hour plans don't sound attractive (unless, maybe I'm travelling outside the US). Looks like the cheapest monthly option with any reasonable amount of data is $10 with my existing AT&T Mobileshare plan. But I'm not clear whether there is some additional monthly access charge (or whatever), and maybe that's why Best Buy said $20/mo.

    The bottom line is that I don't want to purchase an iPad unless I know exactly what the monthly charges are, and there's no way to see this because of the problem on AT&T's website.
     
  6. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    #6
    AT&T corporate store is your best bet for adding existing devices to your current plan. It's possible your current plan might be a single line plan and not a MobileShare hence, adding the tablet online isn't working. In store, they would've figured out the issue and swapped you to a compatible plan. That said, I believe the new plans cost $20/tablet line instead of $10.

    For intermittent use, go the prepaid data pass route as Clix Pix described above.
     
  7. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #7
  8. CPTmom2wp, May 29, 2018
    Last edited: May 29, 2018

    CPTmom2wp macrumors 6502

    CPTmom2wp

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2014
    Location:
    Ohio
    #8
    I just looked up my AT&T plan and it's $10/month with .76 administration fee, .03 OH state cost recovery fee, and $1.25 Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge for a total of $12.04.

    I have Mobile Share Value 30GB w/ rollover. We have 4 phones, 3 iPads, and 1 Watch.
     
  9. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #9
    @rui no onna - yeah, I think you're right, if I actually decide to buy an iPad I just need to go to the AT&T store and wait. I was at a Corporate Store this morning but got impatient after waiting 15 minutes when there were only 3 customers but there appeared to be no end in sight with them. I definitely have a MobileShare plan and could get as far as the webpage that said the iPad would cost another $10/month. But when I clicked the button I got an error message. The AT&T rep said this was a website error they are already aware of.

    @Clix Pix - thanks, I wasn't aware of those domestic pay as you go options. The 90 day 2gb plan for $25 might be enough for me and would end up costing $100 for a full year. I assume this is something you could buy directly on the iPad?
    --- Post Merged, May 29, 2018 ---
    Thank you very much for that! I guess I need to go back to the AT&T store if I want to do this... I think I can schedule an appointment in advance.
     
  10. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    #10
    By the way, T-Mobile has a $10/5GB/5 months promo for the iPad. If T-Mo has acceptable coverage for you, that's probably the cheapest option for light use.
     
  11. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #11
    The domestic pay-as-you-go plan should be easy to set up on the iPad itself, yes. That 90-day plan for $25.00 sounds like the one I used to have and it worked out very nicely. If you decided you didn't want to continue with it, you could cancel it and then set up the $10.00/month iPad plan on your current Mobileshare plan.
     
  12. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #12
    That does sound good, I'm OK with T-mobile. But are there some additional charges if you aren't an existing T-mobile customer?
     
  13. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    #13
    None imposed by T-Mobile at least. It's prepaid and doesn't even renew automatically.

    Hmm, maybe taxes? I believe that varies per state based on taxation for prepaid cellular. I buy $10 prepaid PIN load via CallingMart and thus far, there have been no taxes when purchased through there and redeemed to my account.
     
  14. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #14
    Well I just spent quite awhile chatting online with a Best Buy rep. Turns out it was worth my while; in fact there would be no monthly data charge to add the tablet to my existing AT&T plan. Just a $28 monthly installment payment through AT&T Next and a one time $25 activation fee.

    Now, of course, Best Buy agents have been known to give out bad information, so I asked about the return policy, just in case. ;)

    Here's a transcript of the chat, the Best Buy agent is shown in red.

    Your website is showing a box with the AT&T logo that says "These are the charges that will be added to your AT&T bill". It only shows $28/mo installment + $25 one time activation. Is that really all I will pay to AT&T each month to use the iPad with my current plan?
    29-May 04:52 PM

    You are absolutely right.
    29-May 04:53 PM


    I thought there was some charge for each device that shared the same data plan. Is that not true?
    29-May 04:53 PM

    Let me provide further information.
    29-May 04:54 PM


    There would not be any extra charge in monthly carrier plan billing. You existing plan will be shared with the new device as well. Only charge is one time activation fee.
    29-May 04:57 PM


    Thank you very much. I have been unable to get this same response from other sources I have checked, including a salesperson in the Best Buy store and at AT&T's website
    29-May 04:58 PM

    But just in case AT&T does not agree with you and there is some additional monthly charge, what would the return policy be for this device?
    29-May 04:59 PM

    I am sorry to know about the difficulty you had. I've double checked and this is how it works. The return policy is 14 days from the day from you've received the product. A restocked fee of $35 would be applied if your state is qualified for the restocking fee.
    29-May 05:01 PM

    I am sure about what information I shared so far. I would also suggest you get in touch with ATT customer service over phone if you would like to double check with them. I appreciate you contacted us to make sure how the payment works. It was a pleasure assisting you and than you for your kind words. Have I answered all your questions today?
    29-May 05:03 PM
     
  15. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #15
    I don't think that is correct, and you really should check with AT&T at their Corporate store before making any purchases, especially if you are planning to utilize the NEXT plan or some other plan through Best Buy or AT&T. I have the feeling that the NEXT plan purchase fee is separate from the monthly data plan fee.....at least I think it is; my iPhone X is on the NEXT plan and I am pretty sure that I pay the fee for the cost of the device PLUS the fee for data charges, etc. Why would it be any different for an iPad?
     
  16. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #16
    Yeah, I thought the same thing and specifically asked that question - several times in fact, athough I only included part of that above. FWIW, this is what shows on Best Buy's website. I am going to think about this for awhile before pulling the trigger...


    cart.png
     
  17. TheRealAlex macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2015
    #17
    You need to go to a Corporate At&t Store sounds like you visited a 3rd party At&t franchise store they are useless.
    Corporate At&t stores are very helpful.
     
  18. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #18
    That "cart" from Best Buy definitely does not include adding the iPad to your cellular data plan.....it's only the NEXT payments plus the activation fee. You really do need to go to the AT&T Corporate store to talk with someone there and get an accurate answer as to what you will be charged for the NEXT program, the activation fee AND the monthly data fee when the iPad is attached to your current Mobileshare plan..... The latter should just be $10.00 plus any applicable state and local taxes.
     
  19. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    #19
    Do note the "plus any applicable taxes, fees or surcharges".
     
  20. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #20
    In my post that you quoted, I said that I walked out of the store because I got tired of waiting. How could you possibly assume it was a third party store based on that? ;) It was, in fact a large AT&T corporate store. There were only three other customers but after a 15 minute wait there was no end in sight. When one of the reps came over I thought he would finally wait on me, but instead he asked if I would like him to change the channel of the store TV so I could watch while I waited. That just rubbed me the wrong way... I plead guilty to being impatient. Maybe I will return later.

    Honestly not even sure that I *want* an iPad but I'm just amazed at how confusing the data plan issue is.
    --- Post Merged, May 29, 2018 ---
    That's exactly what I assumed as well, which is what led to the chat session I posted. Most likely, you are correct.
     
  21. Alch3mist macrumors member

    Alch3mist

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Location:
    Right behind you.
    #21
    If you are interested in adding a new Phone line to your account AT&T is offering the 2018 iPad for $99 and $10/mth for 24mths (1 gig of data). I just did this today. They told me if I wanted to add the iPad to my existing unlimited data family account it would be $20 per month. Hope this help.
     
  22. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #22
    I believe that is for the 32gb model and I want the 128gb. Checking their site, there are no stores anywhere in my area (metro Philadelphia basically) that stock the 128gb 2018 iPad. The list comes up blank no matter what zip code I enter.

    But I'm not quite sure what you mean by "add a new phone line". Would the iPad have its own phone number? I don't want telephone service on my iPad, just LTE data.
     
  23. muzzy996 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2018
    #23
    Bottom line IMO is once you truly decide to pull the trigger, go to an AT&T store and do it. Kinda seems like you’re still in the decision pondering mode (which is fine, it’s an investment for sure) since cumulatively you’ve probably already spent more time researching elsewhere and posting here than you would have just sticking it out at a store to get your questions answered directly. Part of the fun is shopping though so I totally get it hehe.
     
  24. Alch3mist macrumors member

    Alch3mist

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Location:
    Right behind you.
    #24

    The 128 is $199 and $10/mth.

    You would have to purchase a new iPhone to get the deal. I just purchased the iPhone SE for $5/mth (My 6s plus recently broke) and got the 32g iPad for $99 and 10mth for LTE service.

    So you would need to be in the market for a new cellphone to take advantage of this deal.
     
  25. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #25
    Definitely, no argument there. But I'm in a rural area 20 miles from the store and am not going back for a second time the same day. :p And that brings me back to the title of the thread.. "why is this so hard?" Really - I have a bunch of other expensive computers, pro video and audio gear, etc. I had no problem finding out what they would cost by looking at a few websites. But I have to physically go into a store to buy an iPad? Seems ridiculous - especially since no store actually stocks the 128gb model and they will have to ship it to me anyway. :rolleyes:
     

Share This Page